Let’s Go Cruisin’

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Dad loved to collect old things. When I was growing up, we had two Locomobiles, a Chalmers and a 1936 Packard touring car that was our family car. The Chalmers consisted of a wheelbase and an assortment of fenders and other parts scattered around the garage. One of the Locomobiles had been turned into a quasi pickup truck with the back cut out to make space for hauling who knows what. The Packard had no windows and it was necessary to attach side curtains in the case of rainy weather. These cars were relics in the 1950s but Dad loved each one and would only part company if he could add another vehicle of similar age or of more interest to him. He carried on with this tradition after we returned to Comfort Island in the form of his attraction to older boats. Indeed, we never had a new boat, but Dad bought a small armada of boats that needed engine work and refurbishing but often got neither. As we recognized a need for more boats, he would visit the various marinas and check out what used boats were for sale. A funny old cruiser that he named Sabot was added in1964. The name translated means “wooden shoe.” There were various theories about the origin of this 32-foot craft and the accepted story is that the boat had spent some years in the New York City area where it had served as a rumrunner among other things. It was apparently built in 1908, which was a fine vintage in Dad’s opinion since he was born the same year. The Sabot lacked the size and amenities for comfortable overnight cruising, but Mom and Dad nonetheless took it for short one or two-night ventures up the nearby Rideau Canal System. At the end of the 1967 summer my mom got into the boat-buying act when she purchased a 48-foot, twin-engine Elco cruiser that she and my... ... middle of paper ... ...ightning, and I avoid it whenever possible on the water. Dad stood next to me studying a chart for the location of markers and obstacles. The lightning was actually of assistance because it made it easier to get a bearing as landmarks became briefly visible. However, when a lightening strike was scary-close, I cringed and I ducked my head fearing this might be the “end” for all of us. The strain on my eyes began affecting my mind and visions of being barbecued at sea added a gruesome quality to my stress. It was after eight o’clock when we reached the Isle Raymond marina. Aside from Topper who never let much of anything bother him, the rest of us were greatly relieved to reach land. We arrived wet and nervous, and I recall breathing a huge sigh of relief. We were rewarded for our effort when we found a club to have, what Dad recorded as, “a fine dinner and drinks.”

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